P: +64 27 494 4905

Breed Standards

(Taken from the Valais Blacknose Sheep Society Uk and re-translated from the Swiss standards)

Origin and History

The black-nosed sheep is a frugal land race that is very well adapted to the harsh mountain conditions. This unique breed originates from the Upper Valais, the German speaking part of the canton of Valais. There are indications that this breed has existed since the 15th century.

Overall Appearance

The Valais Blacknose is a mountain breed of sheep with an even fleece all over the body. The horns and colour characteristics shape the unique appearance of Valais Blacknose. The Valais Blacknose has a well balanced, robust, large, solid frame.

Breed Characteristics

The name of the Blacknose sheep is derived from its black nose. The black nose extends to the middle of the face and continues without interruption to the eyes. The ears are black as well. Furthermore, there are black spots on the hocks and on the front knees. In addition, the legs are short black booted. The females have a tail spot. The whole body, including the head and the legs, should be evenly woolly.


Colour Features

  • Black from nose to the centre of the face.
  • Black eye rims, both sides connected via the black nose.
  • Black ears.
  • Black, horizontal ankle colouring.
  • Even, black spots on the hocks and on the front knees.
  • In females a tail spot is desirable but it must not be too large and must be interrupted.
  • In males no tail spot is tolerated.
  • Females get a point deduction when a feature is missing, depending on type and format.

Type (format)

Withers (from two years)

  • Female: 72 - 78 cm
  • Male: 75 - 83 cm


  • Spiral shape, in the horizontal direction well away of the jaws.
  • Occasional black streaks are tolerated.

Foundation Limbs

  • Strong and well placed.
  • Not cow-hocked and not bowlegged.
  • Wide-legged position of the front legs (not knock-kneed).

Chest, Shoulders, Withers

  • Wide and deep chest.
  • Shoulder close fitting.
  • Withers broad and closed.
  • Good spring of ribs.

Back, Loin

  • Long, straight and broad back.
  • Wide loin.


  • Fineness 5-4 (36-40 microns). Staple length more than 10cm (5-6 months growth sheep should be shorn twice yearly).
  • Even, natural all over the body, including the head and legs.
  • Uniformly white, some scattered black hairs are tolerated on the neck (for males up to 18 months, this is a reason for exclusion).
  • Even fleece.

Docked tails must be in line with the top of the black markings on hocks.

Weight (from two years)

  • Female: 70 - 90 kg
  • Male: 80 - 125 kg


  • Medium hock regulation.
  • Short strong ankles.
  • Solid bone structure.

Head and Neck

  • Short head.
  • Wide mouth, broad forehead and Roman nose.
  • Ears medium length.
  • Distinctive head shape in males.
  • Short, strong neck.

Pelvis, Belly, Hind Legs

  • Belly medium-sized with small paralumbar fossa.
  • Wide and medium-long pelvis.
  • Hind legs, well muscled.


  • Roomy, sure-footed and wide legged.
  • Not swaying.

Reasons For Exclusion


  • Jaws - condensed mandible or jaw unequal length.
  • Teeth - if teeth are not up to the gummy plate of fitting (up to 18 months for both male and female).
  • Worn through ankles/hooves
  • Dwarfism
  • Single testicle
  • Testicular sac rapture


  • Short hairs or like twine.
  • An excessive number of guard hairs.
  • Mixed-coloured wool up to the age of 18 month in the males.

Colours Features

  • In males body spots within the fleece area (above the belly line), tail spots and the absence of a colour feature.